Monday, September 16, 2019

Heartbreaking but Informative!

Not long ago I posted a newspaper column that I wrote about copperheads being dangerous this time of the year. Since then, the following was posted to my fb page. I feel that the information written is well worth reposting L.A.D.

By Gavin Hollabaugh

            This is long but worth the read!  Please pass this information on.

            On August 10th our 8-year-old daughter was bit by a copperhead in our own front yard. She was outside that evening, playing hide-and-go-seek in the dark like my kids and their friends had done hundreds of times before. It was 9:11 pm when she was bit. Initially she just yelled, “Ouch, I ran through prickers”. It was not alarming at all. However, after less than a minute she yelled a little louder and let out a whimper and said that the prickers were still in her foot.  I went with a flashlight to look and saw that she was bleeding. I wiped away the blood but didn’t find anything in her foot. I then asked her where she was when she felt it. I took the flashlight and slowly started walking and about 4 feet from her I saw the back half of an adult copperhead and my heart sank. I immediately got her in the truck and headed for the hospital. We live up a dirt road in the middle of nowhere and knew I would be faster than an ambulance. From my driveway to the hospital it took me only seven minutes (yes I was driving well over the speed limit). The screams coming from my child were worse than anything I had ever heard and I never wish for any parent to experience.

            Now that brings me to the educational part of this nightmare. In doing research and listening to the doctors, I have found that copperheads are most active between 9pm and midnight any night when it is hot and humid. I hear a lot of locals say the copperheads are so bad this year because of the cicadas. I didn’t know there was a tie between the two, but come to find out, cicadas live up in trees but at night they drop their larvae from to land on the ground. This is a feast for a copperhead. They like the larvae because it is soft and doesn’t have an exoskeleton. I also found out that Cicadas favor oak trees. Those are things I did not know. Now it is August and people need to be vigilant and keep an eye out because this is also the time that baby copperheads are born. Jodi was wearing a pair of Nike slides, which a lot of people wear in the summertime. But from now on after dusk all my kids will wear leather boots if outside because a snake that size will not penetrate a bite through thick leather boot. Our daughter is almost a week and a half out from getting bit and she is still not able to walk yet but is getting better every day. The doctors have no time frame on healing. They said it is up to her body to process the venom and eliminate it from her system. The venom does soft tissue damage, which will have to heal from within. But I can assure you the emotional side of this will take even longer. Please share our story just to spread awareness because I’m sure there are others like me that did not know some of this!

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